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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

rainy sundays are made for movies

Sunday, 23OCT2005:

got woken up at noon by one of the auberge staff. i had been up until almost 5 as i had stopped for a bite to eat a couple of slices of taouk at an all-night pizza joint after leaving the internet cafe. the staff person was very apologetic about rousting me once i mentioned that i would be moving into the private room. either they really like repeat clients or they're trying especially hard to make up for 'losing' the block reservation that i made back in june. either way, their service is the tops in my book.

so i had planned out a day's worth of movies and it actually happened exactly as planned. the first show was 'a history of violence'. i enjoyed the acting performances here, but found it eerie that the director would restrain himself from giving the characters pat dialogue while not restraining himself when it came to a couple of raunchy sex scenes (not complaining, mind) and the killing scenes. i was waiting for a 'do you understand how i feel about violence now' comment from father to son or even an apology for lying, but neither happened. still, very much worth seeing.

up next was tim burton's 'corpse bride'. a visual feast, i had a hard time trying not to blink - i didn't want to miss anything. it didn't help that i had finished most of a large cola during the first movie and had to rush out to the loo as soon as the credits started rolling. if i see it again, tho, i'd almost prefer to see it without the dialogue so i could focus on the genius animation.

after that doubleheader at the paramount, i had an hour to kill until the next movie on the list at the cinema du parc. walking there would only take 20 minutes, so i stopped in at the 'bay to pick up a few pairs of pants. i picked up some nice fuzzy black ones with silky pockets. of course, if i ever got around to mending the pairs that i've set aside at home, i might not have needed to buy new ones.

the third film of the day was 'stryker', a canadian film set in the north end of winnipeg. a very raw film that seemed to capture the pointless violence and hopelessness of living on the fringe. the soundtrack featured aboriginal rappers including rezofficial, who i will add to my wantlist. the film was disturbing, unsympathetic and bleak - telling it like it is without flinching from unpleasant truths.

after that, i took a break to catch up on my email at the battlenet.24 internet cafe a couple of blocks south. i also played a couple of hands of poker and, for once, left while i was ahead to grab another round of sushi from the place next door. gave erin a call to arrange our visit tomorrow morning before i wander off to knock a few more items off of my shopping list. she'll be heading up to iqaluit in november for a theatre workshop, so i guess that's another item to add to my already packed agenda.

saving the best for last, the final film that i watched today, also at the cinema du parc, was ' kamikaze girls'. what a riot ! this is what the 'spice world' movie should have been, a visual treat of beautiful girls living overly effusive lives, struggling with how to be true to themselves in the face of commercialism, peer pressure, inept parents and the fashion police. the 2 leads are *HOT*, the music is AWESOME, and the costumes were totally FAB. this was the most fun i've had at a movie all year. i went online tonight afterwards and ordered a copy of the soundtrack from japan and would also have ordered a copy of the dvd, except that i don't think that i can play region 2 dvd's on my pc. here's what other people had to say about the film.

  • link of the day: an effective global information system requires a culture of sharing:
    We have to find ways to motivate 
    researchers in all countries to 
    preserve and exchange their research 
    data, to publish their findings in 
    open access journals and to deposit 
    their published articles in 
    institutional repositories.  Granting 
    agencies, governments and institutions 
    must find ways to reward researchers 
    for the real value of their 
    collaborative work and state-of-the-art 
    data management.  Institutions, too, 
    need to know that their investments in 
    expanding and improving the quality of 
    their data archives and open-access 
    repositories are recognized as 
    measurable scientific outputs. 
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the truth about serendipity

Monday, 24OCT2005:

for once, i walked away from online poker last night with more play money that i started with. i had a really good night, but i suspect that the really loose players around the table helped me to grow my chip stack quite a bit quicker than i would in a normal game. we'll see if i can pick my battles as well in the future.

got up earlier than my body wanted to this morning so that i could catch the metro up to erin's place. it was twice as big as the place that they had last year, with not a huge increase in rent. turns out erin was running late and had a bunch of things that she had promised to get done for others. to keep myself occupied, i watched her of a documentary about the making of the oscar-award winning animated film 'ryan', which i watched after she overcame my initial skepticism. adding an extra touch of poignance to the viewing was the fact that the profiled animator could have been on one of the streets that i had been walking on this week.

so, to let erin catch up a bit, i headed on back to vieux montreal to check out a bike shop that i had found on the web. sadly, the place was shuttered and my purchase of a bike seat clamp had to wait until later. i wandered back to the hostel, planning on getting an hour of shuteye before continuing my day. i ended up sleeping for twice that long and was still a bit stunned when i arose. however, i had recalled that there had been a bike shop near erin's former abode and decided to try to rush over and see if they could assist. they did and i bought the part that i needed for a kewl 5 bucks.

then, after getting a little bit lost trying to find my way back to the metro station, i decided to hoof over to parc. 'twas a serendipitous decision as rue mont royal was a gold mine of funky shops selling all manner of goodies that were appropriate for the hallowe'en season. attracted to a gothic window display, i walked in to find a large assortment of 'emily' material. however, a lounge shirt emblazoned with face cards caught my fancy and i picked it up to bring to the next tourney at todd's. across the street was a shop featuring an alice cooper outfit, complete with floppy striped tophat, but the clerk advised me that i couldn't buy the hat alone without buying the rest of the costume.

only a few blocks later, i found a hat / wig costume shop where i tried on various top hats that might go with the character of the 'bingo master' that i will be portraying in our december production of 'the rez sisters'. a couple of the hats were layered with glitter, but would probably be too glaring under the lights. none of the hats were small enough to fit on my head, but the proprietor suggested that i wear something else underneath the hat to make a better fit. this sounded alright to me and so i bought one, along with some green sprinkles to scatter over it for added glamour.

i made it over to the cinema du parc just in time to meet up again with erin. we went in to watch 'where the truth lies'. the film was entertaining, with lynch-ian elements that added to its pastiche of time-periods and examinations of journalistic integrity. the production company ? 'serendipity point'. afterwards, i walked erin back to the metro stop before stopping in at 'shish-taouk', a lebanese counter on st. laurent, to snarf a plate of tasty shawarma.

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capital views

Tuesday, 25OCT2005:

took the via train to our nation's capital today. it was another wet day, so i skipped the scenery in favour of taking a much-needed nap. hopped into a cab to take me to the delta. the room was frickin' HUGE and the view from the 11th floor was pretty impressive. i scouted out the internet via tv service that they offerred, but it didn't meet my rigourous standards.

gave madeleine a call and wandered over to her workplace for a personal tour. i had been in the building before, but only in the public areas so it was neat to see things behind the scenes, like the staff badminton court. however, since it was open to the elements, no one was out playing during my visit. we arranged to meet for supper and i went back to the hotel to surf the 'net from their business centre.

went for (another) sushi supper at 'festival japan'. the food was pretty good, with the unagi ranking maybe 4 out of 5. afterwards, madeleine walked me down bank street in search of an internet cafe. as i was comparing prices in front of the last one we found, the proprietor offered an extended use discount which i was more than happy to take him up on.

  • link of the day: what the london police consider suspicious behaviour by a metro passenger:
    The police decided that wearing a rain jacket, 
    carrying a rucksack with a laptop inside, 
    looking down at the steps while going into a tube 
    station and checking your phone for messages 
    just ticked too many boxes on their checklist and 
    makes you a terrorist suspect.
this is why it's so important to provide proper security training to those 'on the ground'. security is not about creating an orwellian surveillance society, but by training people who can make proper judgement calls. like today, when i was waiting in the via train station, one of the porters came by and asked to see my ticket. besides confirming the seat number for me, he also would have been able to perceive if i was nervous or evasive, and be able to take further action if it was required. since he was older, he would presumably be a better judge of human behaviour, as well as providing a non-threatening demeanor, thereby not alarming anyone who would not have cause to be alarmed.

also, when checking in at the delta, the reception staff asked me to confirm that i preferred a non-smoking room and unobtrusively threw in a question to confirm the group that i was purporting to be registering with. since i wasn't dudded out in a suit, this could have been used to gauge the confidence of my response and had i not been who i said i was, my reaction may have provided him with sufficient reason to query further.

finally, i had to go thru a set of security gates for an office building. before walking thru, i had asked if they wanted me to remove my shoes, which i know have metal buckles that will set off the alarm. however, after checking the scan, they just waved me thru. the fact that the staff person i was visiting vouched for me was as much an element as the actual gate scan.

these are all examples of good security where staff are trained to be observant and have the power to act on their observations. the troubling question is why the london police haven't acquired the same level of proficiency or flexibility, given their increased chances of having the need to exercise these skills. i can understand that they were on-edge after the july incidents, but given their subsequent shooting death of an innocent man, you'd think that someone would have refreshed or refined their profiling training.

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meetings, planned and unplanned

Wednesday, 26OCT2005:

spent most of the day in meetings at an office orientation tour south of downtown ottawa. met a ton of people and got deluged with a bunch of info that i will have to assimilate in order to properly take on my new additional position. i crashed for a couple of hours after i got back to the hotel and was oblivious to the staffer who stopped in to drop off a bottle of water and some chocolates.

i joined madeleine for a vietnamese supper at the saigon in the market district. from there, we went to the keg for dessert, meeting up with qajaq and naomi who were in town for a conference. funnily enough, i also ran into todd at the hotel, and he promised to give me a holler sometime later this week to get together while we're both in town.

  • ip idiocy link of the day: examines why photographs are not like other works (i.e. why bill c-60 is a *bad* idea:
    It is bad enough for historians, 
    researchers, archivists, 
    librarians, genealogists, and the 
    like, to say nothing of publishers, 
    that we have to put up with a 
    Copyright Act which stupidly 
    presumes that if you don't know who 
    the author was, you surely will 
    know when the work was created or 
    published.  It's a completely false 
    premise, as anyone who ever does 
    real work with the raw material of 
    Canadian heritage can tell you -- 
    archives, museums, and libraries 
    are positively littered with works, 
    within the meaning of the 
    Copyright Act, which are 
    uncertain both as to authorship and 
    date.  It isn't a case of knowing 
    one or the other; quite often it's 
    a case of knowing neither!  Why, 
    then, doesn't the Act have a 
    fallback clause to take care of 
    such situations?
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yet another seafood supper

Thursday, 27OCT2005:

more meetings today at the national office with demos of the membership database and the web content management system. after that was a roundtable where folks from across the country updated us on developments in their respective jurisdictions. we closed off the evening by going to a restaurant on the southern outskirts of ottawa. i went for seafood again, selecting scallops as an appetizer and then an oriental seafood dish for the main course, closed off with some orange sherbert for dessert.

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hallowe'en party hijinks

Friday, 28OCT2005:

well, the participants of these national meetings make for a lively crowd. we were invited to a hallowe'en house party and got dressed up for the occasion. we had 'lola' in drag, a fierce pirate, a vampy temptress, fairy godmother, fairy godfather, m+m, mcdonald fries, a pippi, a jailbird, and a witch. me, i just put on the tophat that i picked up last week in montreal and wore as much black as i could.

there was a pool table in the basement so i played the pirate best 2 out of 3. first he scratched when the cue ball went down after he sunk the black. in the second game, he again put the black away, but this time managed to keep the cue ball on the table. in the final match, i sunk the black ball a wee bit too early on a bad riccochet. the pirate then went down in flames against the witch, giving me a chance to redeem myself by reclaiming the table. however, it was not to be, and the witch nearly took me out for good before the dinner bell rang and she made do with sinking the black.

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quitting while i'm still ahead

Saturday, 29OCT2005:

attended yet another day of meetings but i could tell that my mind was turning to mush. i had to put the headphones on and crank the mix to give me enough of a boost to make it thru the afternoon. between the end of the meetings and supper, i hit the internet cafe for a fix of online poker and managed to turn $800 in play money into over $15k of play money before the timer ran down.

supper this evening was at 'fridays' where i devoured a couple of slabs of prime rib. a fellow diner couldn't finish one of her portions of the same meal, so i volunteered to assist. had to maintain my infamous reputation of having a bottomless pit for a stomach, don't ya know :)

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